Although we did not like to think of it, all of us have for several years seen the time coming when our original leaders would no longer be with us and instruct us. And though our seminary is small and sometimes is perhaps rather distant from our thoughts, the coming of that time was especially serious for that institution. No matter how small, our Theological School occupies an indispensable place in the life of our denomination. No communion of churches can long exist without its own seminary. And no seminary, of course, can exist without a faculty. Moreover, a seminary such as ours, with a faculty of two instructors, is especially stricken when one of those instructors is taken away. And yet exactly that has happened to our school twice in the last few years. First the Lord removed Prof. Ophoff from his labors and, shortly thereafter, took him to Himself. My father was never one to influence anyone’s decision on a call; but I well remember that in 1959, when I had the call to replace Prof. Ophoff in our school, he said to me, “It would be nice if we could work together yet for a few years.”
Well, it was only a few years. Last December the Lord took him also from his labors in our school; and now he has joined his former colleague, Prof. Ophoff, in glory.
But the Lord has also provided for our seminary!
It was only for one semester that the teaching staff was crippled. That our Synod, in spite of our severe shortage of ministers, had the foresight and the insight without any hesitation to call another professor was a source of special joy and encouragement to me. Already then the Lord was providing. And that Rev. H. Hanko, after only a brief stay in the congregation of Doon, was led to accept the call to become Professor of Theology was also the Lord’s provision. I am happy that he has come: for I esteem him as a friend and brother not only, but as a capable and faithful servant of the Lord. Moreover, all our churches should be glad and thankful to the Lord because He has so soon and so well provided for the needs of our seminary. I take great pleasure in introducing to our readers our new Professor of Theology, who will give instruction to our future ministers especially in the New Testament branches and, in Church History.
A few weeks ago he and I stood together at my father’s coffin in the funeral chapel, and suddenly the full impact of reality struck us both. I said to him,—and I said it with weeping: “Now you and I have to stand in the seminary in the place of Ophoff and my Dad.” But we are encouraged because we have a goodly heritage and because we have the promise of the indwelling of the Spirit of truth. The reader will forgive, I am sure, the personal note in this; I injected it, not to be sentimental, but to try to impress our people with the seriousness of our position as faculty members in our seminary and thereby to impress upon our people that we urgently need and covet your prayers.